Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Osteology and phylogenetic affinities of the middle Eocene North American Bathornis grallator—one of the best represented, albeit least known Paleogene cariamiform birds (seriemas and allies)

  • Gerald Mayr (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Bathornis (“Neocathartes”) grallator (Wetmore, 1944) from the middle Eocene of Wyoming is based on a partial skeleton, which is the most substantial record of the North American Bathornithidae and one of the most complete fossils of a Paleogene stem group representative of the Cariamiformes. So far, however, an assessment of the evolutionary significance of this important fossil has been hampered by the limited published osteological data. Moreover, cariamiform affinities of B. grallator and its true “genus”-level identity were recognized after the last comprehensive revision of the Bathornithidae, and some of its features were incorrectly portrayed in the original description. Here, the B. grallator holotype is restudied and the taxonomic composition and phylogenetic affinities of bathornithids are revised. It is suggested to restrict Bathornithidae to the taxon Bathornis, from which the putative bathornithid Paracrax differs in numerous features, with even cariamiform affinities of this latter taxon not having been established beyond doubt. B. grallator was a flightless bird and has recently been hypothesized to be the sister taxon of the likewise flightless South American Phorusrhacidae. The present analysis, however, supports a position outside a clade including Phorusrhacidae and Cariamidae (the cariamiform crown clade). Owing to their terrestrial way of living, Cariamiformes appear to have been prone to a loss of flight capabilities. B. grallator shows close similarities to a flightless cariamiform bird from the Paleogene of Europe, but the phylogenetic significance of this resemblance is difficult to assess owing to the limited material known of the latter species.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Agnolín F.L., 2009, Sistemática y filogenia de las aves fororracoideas (Gruiformes: Cariamae), Buenos Aires, Fundación de Historia Natural Félix de Azara, 79 p.
Alvarenga H.M.F., and Höfling E., 2003, Systematic revision of the Phorusrhacidae (Aves: Ralliformes): Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, v. 43, p. 5591.
Andrews C.W., 1899, On the Extinct Birds of Patagonia. 1. The Skull and Skeleton of Phororhacos inflatus Ameghino: Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, v. 15, p. 5586.
Angst D., Buffetaut E., Lécuyer C., and Amiot R., 2013, “Terror birds” (Phorusrhacidae) from the Eocene of Europe imply trans-Tethys dispersal: PLoS ONE, v. 8, e80357.
Baumel J.J., and Witmer L.M., 1993, Osteologia, in Baumel, J.J., King, A.S., Breazile, J.E., Evans, H.E., and Vanden Berge, J.C., eds., Handbook of avian anatomy: Nomina anatomica avium, 2nd ed. Publications of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, v. 23, p. 45132.
Chandler R.M., 1994, The wing of Titanis walleri (Aves: Phorusrhacidae) from the late Blancan of Florida: Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Biological Sciences, v. 36, p. 175180.
Cracraft J., 1968, A review of the Bathornithidae (Aves, Gruiformes), with remarks on the relationships of the suborder Cariamae: American Museum Novitates, v. 2326, p. 146.
Cracraft J., 1971, Systematics and evolution of the Gruiformes (Class Aves) 2. Additional comments on the Bathornithidae, with descriptions of new species: American Museum Novitates, v. 2449, p. 114.
De Pietri V.L., and Mayr G., 2014, The enigmatic Ibidopodia palustris from the Early Miocene of France - the first Neogene record of Cariamiformes (Aves) in Europe: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 34, p. 14701475.
Degrange F.J., Tambussi C.P., Taglioretti M.L., Dondas A., and Scaglia F., 2015a, A new Mesembriornithinae (Aves, Phorusrhacidae) provides new insights into the phylogeny and sensory capabilities of terror birds: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 35, e912656.
Degrange F.J., Noriega J.I., and Vizcaíno S.F., 2015b, Morphology of the forelimb of Psilopterus bachmanni (Aves, Cariamiformes) (early Miocene of Patagonia): Paläontologische Zeitschrift, v. 89, p. 10871096.
Ericson P.G.P., Anderson C.L., Britton T., Elzanowski A., Johansson U.S., Källersjö M., Ohlson J.I., Parsons T.J., Zuccon D., and Mayr G., 2006, Diversification of Neoaves: integration of molecular sequence data and fossils: Biology Letters, v. 2, p. 543547.
Friscia A.R., and Rasmussen D.T., 2010, Middle Eocene Carnivoramorpha of the Uinta Basin, Utah: Annals of Carnegie Museum, v. 79, p. 5163.
Gaillard C., 1908, Les oiseaux des Phosphorites du Quercy: Annales de l’Université de Lyon (Nouvelle Série), v. 23, p. 1178.
Gaillard C., 1939, Contribution à l’étude des oiseaux fossiles: Archives du Museum d’histoire naturelle de Lyon, v. 15(2), p. 1100.
Goloboff P.A., 1993, NONA version 2.0 [Computer software]: Published by the author, S. M. de Tucumán, Argentina.
Gonzaga L.P., 1996, Family Cariamidae (seriemas), in del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and Sargatal, J., eds., Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3, Barcelona, Lynx Edicions, p. 234239.
Gould G.C., and Quitmyer I.R., 2005, Titanis walleri: bones of contention: Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History, v. 45, p. 201229.
Grajal A., 1995, Structure and function of the digestive tract of the hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin): a folivorous bird with foregut fermentation: The Auk, v. 112, p. 2028.
Hackett S.J., et al., 2008, A phylogenomic study of birds reveals their evolutionary history: Science, v. 320, p. 17631767.
Jarvis E.D., et al., 2014, Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds: Science, v. 346, p. 13201331.
Mayr G., 2000, New or previously unrecorded avian taxa from the Middle Eocene of Messel (Hessen, Germany): Mitteilungen aus dem Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Geowissenschaftliche Reihe, v. 3, p. 207219.
Mayr G., 2002, A new specimen of Salmila robusta (Aves: Gruiformes: Salmilidae n. fam.) from the Middle Eocene of Messel: Paläontologische Zeitschrift, v. 76, p. 305316.
Mayr G., 2005, “Old World phorusrhacids” (Aves, Phorusrhacidae): a new look at Strigogyps (“Aenigmavis”) sapea (Peters 1987): PaleoBios, v. 25, p. 1116.
Mayr G., 2006, A new raptorial bird from the Middle Eocene of Messel, Germany: Historical Biology, v. 18, p. 95102.
Mayr G., 2007, Synonymy and actual affinities of the putative Middle Eocene “New World vulture” Eocathartes Lambrecht, 1935 and “hornbill” Geiseloceros Lambrecht, 1935 (Aves, Ameghinornithidae): Paläontologische Zeitschrift, v. 81, p. 457462.
Mayr G., 2009a, Paleogene fossil birds, Heidelberg, Germany, Springer, 262 p.
Mayr G., 2009b, A well-preserved skull of the “falconiform” bird Masillaraptor from the middle Eocene of Messel (Germany): Palaeodiversity, v. 2, p. 315320.
Mayr G., 2011, Two-phase extinction of “Southern Hemispheric” birds in the Cenozoic of Europe and the origin of the Neotropic avifauna: Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments, v. 91, p. 325333.
Mayr G., 2016, Variations in the hypotarsus morphology of birds and their evolutionary significance: Acta Zoologica, v. 97, p. 196210.
Mayr G., and Mourer-Chauviré C., 2006, Three-dimensionally preserved cranial remains of Elaphrocnemus (Aves, Cariamae) from the Paleogene Quercy fissure fillings in France: Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Monatshefte, v. 2006(1), p. 1527.
McCarroll S.M., Flynn J.J., and Turnbull W.D., 1996, Biostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy of the Bridgerian-Uintan Washakie Formation, Washakie Basin, Wyoming, in Prothero, D.R., and Emry, R.J., eds., The Terrestrial Eocene-Oligocene Transition in North America, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p. 2539.
Mourer-Chauviré C., 1981, Première indication de la présence de Phorusrhacidés, famille d’oiseaux géants d’Amérique du Sud, dans le Tertiaire européen: Ameghinornis nov. gen. (Aves, Ralliformes) des Phosphorites du Quercy, France: Geobios, v. 14, p. 637647.
Mourer-Chauviré C., 1983, Les Gruiformes (Aves) des Phosphorites du Quercy (France). 1. Sous-ordre Cariamae (Cariamidae et Phorusrhacidae): Systématique et biostratigraphie: Palaeovertebrata, v. 13, p. 83143.
Mourer-Chauviré C., 2013, Idiornis Oberholser, 1899 (Aves, Gruiformes, Cariamae, Idiornithidae): a junior synonym of Dynamopterus Milne-Edwards, 1892 (Paleogene, Phosphorites du Quercy, France): Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie-Abhandlungen, v. 270, p. 1322.
Mourer-Chauviré C., Tabuce R., Mahboubi M. H., Adaci M., and Bensalah M., 2011, A Phororhacoid bird from the Eocene of Africa: Naturwissenschaften, v. 98, p. 815823.
Nixon K.C., 2002, WinClada, version 1.00.08 [Computer software]: Published by the author, Ithaca, NY.
Olson S.L., 1985, The fossil record of birds, in Farner, D.S., King, J.R., and Parkes, K.C., eds., Avian Biology, v. 8: New York, Academic Press, p. 79238.
Peters D.S., 1987, Ein “Phorusrhacide” aus dem Mittel-Eozän von Messel (Aves: Gruiformes: Cariamae): Documents des Laboratoires de Géologie de Lyon, v. 99, p. 7187.
Rasmussen D.T., Conroy G.C., Friscia A.R., Townsend K.E., and Kinkel M.D., 1999, Mammals of the middle Eocene Uinta Formation, in Gillette, D.D., ed., Vertebrate Paleontology in Utah: Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication, v. 99–1, p. 401420.
Sinclair W.J., and Farr M.S., 1932, Aves of the Santa Cruz Beds: Rep. Princeton Univ. Exp. Patagonia, 1896-1899, v. 7(2), p. 157191.
Smith A.G., Smith D.G., and Funnell B.M., 1994, Atlas of Mesozoic and Cenozoic Coastlines, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 99 p.
Solé F., 2014, New carnivoraforms from the early Eocene of Europe and their bearing on the evolution of the Carnivoraformes: Palaeontology, v. 57, p. 963978.
van Valkenburgh B., 1999, Major patterns in the history of carnivorous mammals: Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences, v. 27, p. 463493.
Wetmore A., 1927, Fossil birds from the Oligocene of Colorado: Proceedings of the Colorado Museum of Natural History, v. 7, p. 113.
Wetmore A., 1933a, Bird remains from the Oligocene deposits of Torrington, Wyoming: Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, v. 75, p. 297311.
Wetmore A., 1933b, A second specimen of the fossil bird Bathornis veredus: The Auk, v. 50, p. 213214.
Wetmore A., 1937, The tibiotarsus of the fossil bird Bathornis veredus: The Condor, v. 39, p. 256257.
Wetmore A., 1944, A new terrestrial vulture from the Upper Eocene deposits of Wyoming: Annals of Carnegie Museum, v. 30, p. 5769.
Wetmore A., 1950, A correction in the generic name for Eocathartes grallator: The Auk, v. 67, p. 235.
Wetmore A., 1958, Miscellaneous notes on fossil birds: Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, v. 135, p. 111.
Woodbure M.O., 2004, Global events and the North American mammalian biochronology, in Woodbure, M.O., ed., Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic Mammals of North America: Biostratigraphy and Geochronology, New York, Columbia University Press, p. 315343.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
  • EISSN: 1937-2337
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-paleontology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 16 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 190 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.